Hookworm can be contracted from eating contaminated food, or may penetrate the skin, e.g. soles of feet. They pass to the lungs and are coughed up and swallowed. The adult worm lives in the upper small intestine and releases eggs that pass out in the faeces.
Hookworms inhabit the small bowel and suck blood from their point of attachment. An iron deficiency anaemia often exists and this merits treatment along with the hookworms.
There are an estimated 900 million cases worldwide.
Last reviewed 01/2018